Team dormakaba SA’s Sanders, who teamed up with Cycle Nation’s Marnus Potgieter, said the competition in the race was tough.
Sanders and Potgieter only beat Enervit #1’s Lucy James and Gabriel van Deventer by just under three minutes on the final general classification.
“Every day was a proper battle to get on top with seconds [to spare],” Sanders told In the Bunch. “We were never once able to let our guard down and we were forced to ride a very tactical race.
“Lucy and Gabriel were incredibly strong on the climbs, which left Marnus and me with very few options on when to attack and to try to get away.
“I simply could not out-climb Lucy, so we had to look for alternative ways to beat them.”
Sanders has excelled in the local mountain-bike scene, winning the 947 Mountain Bike race followed by her overall Gauteng TrailSeeker Series victory last year. She recently also won the Vulintaba Extreme MTB race and the overall Sabie Xperience title.
She said she found even the prospect of the challenge presented by the four-day road race daunting.
“I was a little apprehensive to ride on the road since I have not been on my road bike at all this year,” she said.
“I simply had to mentally prepare myself to struggle with the speed at first, as well as the intensity of the attacks.
“However, by the second day I had got comfortable in my pain cave.”
She enjoyed her pairing with Potgieter, Sanders added. “He is a fantastic person, so the pairing was based on a solid foundation.
“The racing fell into place perfectly. He knew how to gauge his efforts in order to match mine and he was definitely the decision-maker on the road. He has excellent racing instincts.
“I am very content with the win,” she added.
Sanders will now turn her focus to the sani2c from May 10 to 12, where she will team up with Amy McDougall.